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What will happen to search in 5 years?

     
9:23 pm on Mar 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Just read this article in Wired

[wired.com...]

about the search for one perfect answer by platforms like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

I was a little surprised by the estimate they published saying that half of all internet searches will be spoken aloud by 2020.

They talked about a number of interesting points including liability where they are not just a conduit of the information (ie here are 10 links you can check out about your search) but are becoming the supplier, here is your one answer.

Google makes money from search and advertising. I see it going to be much more difficult for them to make money from Google Assistant than Amazon Alexa which is obviously connected to the Amazon store for purchases.
4:06 am on Mar 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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In five (5) years? Same as now... only worse! :)

The margins are getting sliced thinner and thinner.
9:42 am on Mar 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Anyone who imagines that every possible question has (or could have) a single correct answer is not a mathematician or physicist.

Even at an everyday level, the idea is fairly meaningless. I don't know about you, but I want to look at a range of jackets - from more than one supplier - before I decide which one to buy and where to buy it, and the decision is my preference, not a fact.

Even for things which have a more limited range - like car parts - your choices may well include OEM or aftermarket, price, quality, location of supplier, and quite a lot of et ceteras. Of course, Google has been trying to know what our preferences are before we do for a long time, but I don't personally think they are getting better at it, even with multiple ordered suggestions. Single answer? Not a hope.

As your linked article points out, multiple choices are not particularly suitable for spoken answers, so even if half of all searches are spoken by next year - and in my view that is an unsupportable and outrageously optimistic claim - it is far less likely that half of all answers will be.

Even "facts" (the safest bet for a single answer) are often contestable: they are as likely to be opinions, or estimates. The population-size of Australia is not known exactly, and has almost certainly changed since I started this sentence (but even that is only almost certain).

Whatever the ultimate destination of internet search, however, if you're providing products, services or information, you may already have an inkling that Google no longer works the way it once did. If you want people to find yours and prefer it, organic search is not a reliable long-term solution.

If, on the other hand, you use the internet because you want to understand your world, you need to understand it for yourself. Google cannot do it for you. Believe what the machine tells you at your peril.
2:56 pm on Mar 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@wilburforce. I agree with you but I was amazed this past Christmas (in Canada) at the amount of people who picked up Google Home or Amazon Echo in our neighbourhood, and not just 1 of them. They peppered the units through out the home. While a part of me sees it as a fad, I do see a use more for as a listening device (ie radio, music) or controlling smart home devices. Sure I may use it for some searches mainly facts but anything else I would want to see comparisons.
5:24 pm on Mar 3, 2019 (gmt 0)

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How stupid do we have to be? Voice monetization? Like geez, I dunno how radio makes money. Right now, the answer boxes are skirting laws. I've said this before. It's like a hit radio station being able to play songs for free. The ads for the boxes are coming, and if not, then oh yes they have some way to make revenue. Amazon obvious. Google will figure it out. Those boxes are sht without people creating the content who get zilch for being the brain. That will eventually change. The boxes are a conduit for these companies and if you really stopped buying them, they would give them away for free. Yes, they want to be in your life that badly.

The future of search? So long as content creators want to be stupid and be fragmented, the voice "search" will continue to pilfer.
11:22 pm on Mar 3, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I was a little surprised by the estimate they published saying that half of all internet searches will be spoken aloud by 2020.

I'm a latecomer to smartphones (I bought my first one in late 2016), but when I'm on my phone, I use voice search all the time. I'll probably be using it even more now that I have a phone (an LG) with a dedicated Google Assistant button on the side.

What's more, I don't just listen to the assistant lady giving me a Cliff's Notes-style answer from whatever source Google is using. Usually, I want more than a one-sentence answer, so I go to the source of the summary or (in many cases) I use the additional organic results. I suspect that a lot of other searchers do the same thing, because not every query can be answered in a dozen words or fewer..
1:13 am on Mar 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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half of all internet searches will be spoken aloud by 2020
Searches or answers? I see (I mean see in real life with my eyeballs, not see in site logs) a lot of people telling their phones to find suchandsuch--but then they look at the displayed answer.
3:32 am on Mar 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Yep. Being able to read is still a useful skill!